NewsPRESS RELEASE 19.11.2014
"Classics. SILVIA RAUDVEE"
The 15th exhibition in the “Classics” series at the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design gives an overview of glass artist Silvia Raudvee’s work from 1948 to 1999.
Silvia Raudvee graduated from the State Art Institute of the Estonian SSR glass department in 1961. Since it was impossible to find specialist work in Estonia, Raudvee moved to the Belarussian SSR, where she worked as an artist in the glass factory “Neman” until 1975. In those years “Neman” was one of the leading glass factories in the Soviet Union, where a large selection of everyday items was made from coloured and colourless glass, crystal and pressed glass, along with souvenirs and sculptures, and state orders. Neman was famous for a wide selection of coloured glass.
The artists at the factory could, after sketching mass production designs, devote the rest of their time to their own creative work. The artists’ unique works were shown at exhibitions in the Soviet Union and abroad. The virtually unlimited possibilities for executing ideas inspired Raudvee to experiment with very different glass techniques. In hot-working, colours such as smoky browns, beige, purple and red were used. The works had a soft voluptuous shape and joyful colours; for example, “Stove Creatures” (1968). From cold-working techniques she used grinding, glitter-cutting and sand etching. There were a lot of custom orders such as awards for various sporting events, presents for members of the government and so on.
The long practice of making industrial pieces brought forth the principle that her glass sets should primarily be functional, even those with a sculptural or decorative shape. Already by the middle of the 1960s, the artist had formed a distinct style, which consisted mostly of geometric shapes and a very strong sense of proportion. The fine sense of the rhythm between different shapes enabled Raudvee to create large glass and crystal sets with a cool Nordic style, contrasting techniques and bright colourful details. She was the first among Estonian glass artists to make large design oriented glass sets, for example “Game with Balls” (1974).
Raudvee favoured colourless crystal, which made it possible to create a brilliant high quality result. When designing crystal, she also started to use the contrast principle both in shape, décor and colour. For example the vase set “Contrast” (1968) where glitter-cut surfaces with maximum shine, contrast with the matt silky surface of thick-walled cylinders. The most versatile example of the contrast principle is the elegant set “Festive” (1967) where the severe glitter-cutting in colourless crystal is contrasted with the beautifully shaped bright red bowls of the wine glasses.
The artist has used the striking contrast of red and blue many times, for example in the kitchenware set from 1973. Raudvee excels in smooth lines. She has an eye for harmoniously bringing together subtle nuances of tone in an elegant form, for example in the set “Universal” (1967).
An important part of Silvia Raudvee's work is made up of colourless crystal forms and sets decorated in delicate diamond-point engraving. The diamond-point engravings appear as a delicate monogram, area or cover the whole surface of the glass. For example, in the sets “Initial” (1967) and “Wild Pink” (1969).
After returning to Estonia in 1975, Raudvee started to work as a freelance artist. Her work now depended on commissions and contracts, but also connections in the world of glass art. Raudvee continued to work mostly in diamond-point engraving. The crystal shapes have become larger and the diamond-point decoration conveys the subject of the work, for example “Blooming” (1976) and “Old trees” (1989). Orders for stained glass works came through the Tallinn Art Products Factory ARS, for which she needed to go to the Neman glass factory and work for months. Raudvee has made large-scale stained-glass works for the Belarussian SSR Council of Ministers representative hotel in Moscow (1978), the stained glass work “Galaxy” for the Cosmonaut Training Centre in Star City (1986) and stained glass windows for the Toila health centre at the Geo plant belonging to the Estonian Oil Shale company (1989).
The positive inner warmth characteristic of Silvia Raudvee is also reflected in her work. Her versatile colours and beautiful, practical sets in glass are without doubt an important chapter in the history of Estonian applied art and design and help make our everyday more beautiful.
Curator: Anne Tiivel
Designed by: Mari Kurismaa
Compiled by: Anne Tiivel
Designed by: Dénes Farkas
The exhibition and the publication of the catalogue are supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.